The Bronx parking zone the place Mayor Eric Adams plans to briefly home asylum seekers was flooded with a number of inches of water this weekend, intensifying criticism of the city’s controversial effort to ease stress on homeless shelters.
The winterized tent facility in Orchard Seashore is ready to start processing and housing 1000’s of Latin Individuals as quickly as this week – regardless of an array of concerns outlined by immigrant advocates about the flood-prone location.
Ariadna Phillips, an organizer with the South Bronx Mutual Support Society, mentioned she found a number of inches of water throughout her go to on Saturday. Video of the circumstances prompted concerns that the coastal parking zone isn’t protected for mass housing.
“The area around the tents was significantly flooded,” Phillips mentioned. “You could just see the water moving into the area that’s supposed to be where the beds are.”
She added that the walkways that separate the lot from the Lengthy Island Sound had been additionally coated by water, after the remnants of Hurricane Ian dumped lower than an inch of rain on the space on Saturday. The Bronx coast remained beneath a coastal flood advisory by 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Kate Good, a spokesperson for Adams, mentioned the metropolis was “working diligently to ensure inclement weather doesn’t affect the living quarters for asylum seekers at the humanitarian relief centers.”
“These centers are hardened to retain heat and cooling, as well as to withstand high winds, and, as we have previously said, we have evacuation plans in place if needed as well,” she added.
The Orchard Seashore site is the first of the city’s “emergency relief centers” meant to deal with immigrants which can be arriving on buses at the Port Authority every morning. However as Adams contends with a swelling homeless shelter inhabitants, his effort to alleviate one downside has garnered pushback from native officers and activists.
Sited in a federally acknowledged “special flood hazard area,” Orchard Seashore is usually inundated with water, even after minor rain occasions. Shut proximity to the Lengthy Island Sound brings each excessive winds and the risk of storm surge.
Critics of the plan additionally be aware the seashore is basically minimize off from mass transit and close by facilities – in addition to the watchful eyes of different New Yorkers.
“With a location as distant as Orchard Beach, overseeing the City’s accountability becomes difficult,” mentioned Karines Reyes, a Bronx Meeting Member, and one of a number of Bronx officers to criticize the city’s plan.
In her personal assertion on Sunday, Bronx Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez mentioned she spoke to a number of metropolis officers, however left the conversations satisfied Adams was “completely unprepared.”
The site at Orchard Seashore, she mentioned, “is not a suitable place for anyone to begin building the foundation of a better life.”
Adams has additionally confronted questions on whether or not the new services will observe court-mandated guidelines requiring the metropolis to supply satisfactory shelter to these in want of housing.
Throughout a Metropolis Council listening to on Friday, NYC Emergency Administration Commissioner Zachary Iscol argued the mandate doesn’t apply, since the facilities are separate from the city’s present homeless service suppliers.
In response, Metropolis Councilmember Shahana Hanif, who chairs the Committee on Immigration, accused metropolis officers of stripping asylum seekers of their fundamental rights.
The flooding at Orchard Seashore, she mentioned on Sunday, solely underscored her concerns about the administration’s remedy of migrants.
“The city says this is a humanitarian crisis,” she mentioned. “But why are we rushing into an inhumane situation that will further burden, isolate, and alienate this community.”
Iscol mentioned at Friday’s listening to the metropolis would arrange “tiger dams,” versatile tubes to forestall tidal flooding from the seashore.